Props to Key Grip, with whom Sars and I recapped My So-Called Life; to Omar G and Joanna, with whom Glark and I recapped Survivor (and special props to Omar for taking me to the Radiohead show this week and thus changing my life); to Cate and maggie, with whom I recapped Freaks & Geeks (and yes, Virginia, there will be recaps of the three remaining unaired episodes, so STOP ASKING ME, my god); to Pooh, Gustave, and Djb, with whom I watched this episode, and who were my guests this week, thus providing me with an excuse for delaying writing this recap; and, finally, to my blood-sister Sars, for sharing my brain and taking such good care of it. ["Any time, babe. Next time I won't return it smelling like smoke." -- Sars]
Previously on ER: I made the mistake of ceding half the recapping duties to Sars and cursed my stupidity. Also, the ER staff confronted Carter about his drug use and, in a fit of pique, he quit; Benton confronted him some more, and made poor Carter cry, then hugged him and accompanied him on a plane ride. (I suspect there were more "previouslys" than that, but I had houseguests! Okay, they got cut off. I blame Global, for reasons Canadians will understand.)
Like the alarm clock signalling the end of my recapping summer, a buzzer sounds, and we open on a couple of pairs of feet striding along a highly polished hardwood floor. A super at the bottom tells us, first, that we're in "Atlanta," and that it's "May." The camera pans up to show the determined visage of Peter "Not Wallace" Benton, and the haggard mug of John "Get" Carter. Carter's tie and dress shirt are undone and his hair is sticking up all Rooster Hannigan again; he looks generally dishevelled and resigned -- the latter of which you can tell by the grim line in which his lips are set. Carter glances about warily, letting Benton take the lead. Benton approaches a counter at a glassed-in booth. A nurse with a loud and piercing speaking voice spits, "Name?" Benton quietly gives Carter's and says that someone should have called ahead. Nurse Bitchy appraises Benton suspiciously and disappears into her cube. Carter leans against a wall, rubbing his forehead and labouring to clear his throat. Nurse Bitchy emerges from the cubicle, gives Carter the stink-eye for a little while, and then hands him a form, assuring him that all the information is confidential, and that Carter can sit down on a nearby bench. Carter makes for the bench like a starving man makes for a steak, and Benton follows at a discreetly respectful yet solicitous distance. Carter glances at the form and asks Benton, "Ninety days? This is a three-month program?" Apparently his prescription-drug addiction hasn't impaired his cipherin' abilities. Benton, perhaps rattled that Carter's not so far gone that he can't figure out the length of his imminent stay, stammers that he guesses so. Carter wearily closes his eyes and leans back on the bench, bitterly asking whether Benton will send him some clothes, or whether "they issue prison garb here." Benton elects not to acknowledge Carter's druggy histrionics. Carter sighs loudly and starts to fill in the form, before muttering that the pen doesn't work. He throws it onto the bench (hey, that shit's upholstered, dog. Were you raised in a barn? You better hope it doesn't stain) and, voice breaking, petulantly calls for a new pen. Benton leans into the cube and tells Nurse Bitchy, "He's diaphoretic and cramping." Nurse Bitchy tells Benton, "We'll take care of it." Benton asks when, and she crisply replies, "Soon." Benton tells her, "He has tremors. He needs something." Nurse Bitchy (who actually is not that bitchy, really, but I had to call her something, and there just aren't that many famous nurses in history. Like, she doesn't have long nails, so I can't call her FloJo Nightengale, and who else is left? Nurse Ratched? I got nothing, here) soothingly advises Benton that he should leave. In the foreground, Carter sits on the bench and makes a herculean effort to maintain, man. Nurse Bitchy explains, "It's important that he checks [sic] himself in." Immediately, I asked the room-at-large (containing, as I said, Sars, Gustave, Pooh, and Djb) whether it shouldn't be "It's important that he check himself in," because it's the subjunctive mode; Pooh said no, but Sars said yes, and since she invented grammar, I defer to her. Benton gets a new pen, which he gently hands to Carter, along with the form Carter had angrily thrown down on the bench. Benton quietly asks, "You, uh...you good from here?" Carter looks startled that Benton is leaving him, but plays it off and murmurs, "Yeah, I guess so." Benton smiles and assures him, "Carter, you can do this." Carter tries his best not to cry; Noah Wyle does a really good job making his face look completely vulnerable. Carter says nothing. Benton ambles off. Carter watches him go, frankly terrified.